Pilot project swaps backup diesel generators for van-based batteries

Northern Powergrid, Hyperdrive Innovation and Offgrid Energy have partnered to create a clean and quiet way to provide backup electricity to households during power outages

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A new pilot project plans to swap backup diesel generators used in power outages for van-based batteries.

Northern Powergrid, Hyperdrive Innovation and Offgrid Energy have partnered to create a clean and quiet way to provide backup electricity to households when they need it.

They claim their technology could “revolutionise temporary power restoration in the UK” – the Silent Power project will work by sending out electric vans with onboard battery storage systems to customers who become vulnerable during either unplanned power outages or scheduled maintenance work.

This role is currently filled by diesel generators, which have the negative side effect of producing greenhouse gas emissions, smoke and noise – Northern Powergrid usually sends out more than 2,500 diesel generators each year.

Ross McFarlane, Innovation Project Manager for Northern Powergrid, said: “Traditional diesel generators have been great at restoring power to keep vulnerable customers safer and more comfortable during a power cut.

“However, the noise and air pollution means there are limits to where they can be deployed.”

The companies involved say their new vans can power up to three homes or a small community centre for up to 24 hours and notes they have the added benefit of being able to be deployed to homes that export as well as consume power.

The pilot period to assess the usability, benefits and economic viability of the units will begin later this month.